Due dates are elusive…and that goes not just for babies, but for births of all kinds, projects included. Well over a year and a half ago — late January 2011, to be exact — we found ourselves twiddling our thumbs in what seemed like endless anticipation of having an official moving date for our big venture out West. With all the bureaucracy associated with both buying and selling, we were at what seemed like an interminable standstill. Not knowing the timing of big things (like a cross-country move) can make some personalities (ahem) go a little crazy. What does one do when one can’t control (or speed up) the timing of major life changes? Well, one makes a quilt, of course. I remember vividly, during that excruciatingly endless period of waiting, some thoughtful friends of mine encouraged me to engage in big projects to take my mind off of what I couldn’t control. So, I got out my brightest scraps of fabric and started cutting.
Now, I’m a big believer in preparation — getting ready, psychologically and physically — for not only what is going to happen, but also what you want to happen. Around the same time that we were anxiously awaiting a green light for our move to Portland, some very good friends were deep in the process of trying to get pregnant. Trying, that is, and not succeeding. As I anxiously twiddled my thumbs, obsessing over my own problems, I thought of them, of how long it had already been that they had been hoping for a pregnancy, and how badly I wished I could do something to help. And thus, my mindless fabric cutting became something else entirely. I remember thinking, there’s not much I can do besides hope hope hope for these lovely people, but in the act of hoping, I can prepare a welcome gift…perhaps even summons a baby with some handmade love.
Usually I do things the other way around — I receive pregnancy news from someone special and I happily trot into my sewing space and commence the process of creating a welcome quilt. This ritual has become one of my most treasured. For this child — the very spark of whom was already so wanted, so beloved in the hearts of these lovely friends and a whole community of people surrounding them — well, we needed to pull out the big dogs and work every angle we could. I put as much love into that quilt as I could muster, hoping someone out there would get the message and work some conceiving magic into the Brooklyn air.
The project at hand worked wonders for my restless spirit. I worked away on it, loving the simple design, feeling cheered by the bright colors during a very grey January, and enjoying how meaningful it already felt. Someday, I knew it, this quilt would have a baby sitting on it.
Of course, a week or so after I started the quilt we received our green light to move, so I packed it up, in its unfinished state, and hauled it cross-country with the rest of our belongings, unearthing it months later, still unfinished…still no pregnancy.
Months passed, I worried. I finished the quilt back, sent the whole thing out for quilting, got it back, and tacked on the binding. All it needed was a label…and a recipient.
And then, pregnancy news broke.
No one moved during those early months, and then 2 months turned to 5 to 7 and then to 8 and a half and with bated breath, the insular world of these fine friends quietly waited as he made his appearance about a week ago, in perfect health, a sweet little being.
The best things in life truly are worth waiting for. And hoping for, and praying for, and summonsing in every which way we can possibly imagine.
Oh, welcome, welcome to three, my dear dear friends.